Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Terminology Tuesday: NSAID


NSAID is such a common term used in arthritic and rheumatic diseases. NSAIDs are obviously used with other diseases, and in fact in many other ways.

NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which makes it pretty clear to see what it does on a superficial level. Without using steroids, these drugs help to bring swelling and other issues related to inflammation down. For many with autoinflammatory or autoimmune diseases like autoimmune arthritis types, NSAIDs are the first step in pain relief. If you don't respond, they may add steroids and/or a DMARD to better control your disease.


Cox-1 and -2 are enzymes that make prostaglandins which are lipid compounds that regulate inflammation among other things. Cox-1 enzymes help support platelets and protect the stomach, which is part of why NSAID users should be on a stomach protector like Prilosec. Cox-2 medications include drugs like Celebrex, which were manufactured in order to help limit the gastrointestinal issues caused by other NSAIDs. However, Cox-2 inhibiting NSAIDs raise your risk of heart attack, stroke, and similar issues.

What other side effects can NSAIDs produce?


There are a number, which is why it is important to not mix NSAIDs and, again, to protect your stomach. NSAIDs can cause high blood pressure in some. Other side effects can include things like headache, decreased appetite, rashes, drowsiness, photosensitivity, higher chance of prolonged bleeding, easy bruising, and allergic reactions. If you have asthma, it's very important to be careful with what NSAIDs you're taking. Aspirin based meds can flare up asthma issues.

(Note to self - don't freak out about my NSAID!)

There are some people who wonder what NSAIDs are really the best for their aches and pains. Some people, like myself, are allergic to Tylenol (which isn't always referred to as an NSAID btw) and have other medication sensitivities so we don't get much choice. The rest of you should check out the following picture though:


Make sure that you read the fine print on everything though... Those for OTC arthritis medications often are tested on pains that are more menstrual or achy in nature and NOT on arthritis.

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